A Bento Box with a Higher Purpose

Create a bento box that gives back to meet the needs of the community. That was the recent task for Academy students in one of the Global Sustainability by Design classes, and in response, they came up with an idea to design bento boxes to help the homeless. 

To better understand the issues faced by the houseless community, students watched the 2015 documentary by Rex Moribe, “Dear Thalia,” which documented the experience of a homeless family in Kaka‘ako.

Students then used the principles outlined in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and design software to create blueprints for food containers that might help that community. Students submitted designs of their prototypes from home, which were produced in Punahou’s fabrication labs and distributed to students for further assembly.

Students came up with a wide variety of designs, including some decorated with artwork that would appeal to children. One freshman, Kaimana Satterfield ’24, included mini solar panels on the top of a box to power a small stove inside, so the box’s user could enjoy a hot meal without requiring gas.

Satterfield said the project allowed him to walk in someone else’s shoes and realize how fortunate he is. “I’m going to carry what I learned in this class into the real world by inventing and creating new things, and making the world a better place,” he said.

Students built designs for their bento box using special software.

Freshman Kaimana Satterfield ’24 demonstrates how his bento box would work.

This bento box features three levels and youthful decorations.

The student created a custom-built hook and latch system to keep the lid secure.

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